introduction | preparation | the licensing process | appeals & complaints

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welcome to the Guide to children's services licensing

about this website

This website provides a guide to children’s services licensing.

Providing children’s services is both rewarding and demanding. Families and the wider community share responsibilities in the education, protection, development and care of children. Children’s services in NSW recognise and complement the role of families in caring for their children.

If you are planning to establish a children’s service or are applying for a further licence, you need to proceed in accordance with the Act and Regulation which govern children’s services in NSW.

Information about licensing of school-based preschools or out of school hours care services is available from the main website.

The top row of the main navigation bar (above) gives you access to:

  • the Act & Regulation as PDF files you can download, save on your computer and print
  • resources & links including application forms, relevant legislation and guidelines, planning to succeed in the provision of child care, managing a child care service, a site map to help you find particular information easily and links to other websites that contain important information.
  • contact us by telephone or fax
  • site map of the complete Guide to children’s services licensing website

The second row of the main navigation bar takes you step by step through the things you need to do to prepare for and submit your licence application, including:

  • introduction
    • about children’s services in NSW
    • which services the Act and Regulation cover
    • the role of local government, the Australian (Commonwealth) Government and DoCS
    • the role of licensees
    • who may apply for a licence
  • preparation
    • initial planning of your service
    • what to consider when selecting a site for your premises
    • what building plans, development applications and building applications you need to lodge, how these will be assessed and approved, and when you need to notify DoCS of local council building approval
    • advertising notice of making a licence application
    • probity/criminal history checks
    • recruitment and assessmentl of an authorised supervisor
    • developing your plan to establish and operate a children’s service
    • the licensing inspection
    • local council certificate of occupancy
    • when DoCS will issue your licence
    • when you can open your children’s service
  • licensing process
    • how to apply for a new or further licence
  • staffing
    • the qualifications staff require to be employed in children’s services in NSW
    • how many and what types of staff you need
    • information about authorised and temporary supervisors
  • appeals and complaints
    • how to make a complaint or lodge an appeal against a decision made by DoCS

Within each of these main sections are a number of sub-sections which you will see listed on the left-hand side of each page. Some sections are further sub-divided. Click on these menus to visit each sub-section.

links and downloads

In addition to the resources & links section, links are provided to other websites and information, and PDF files of important documents can be downloaded.

please make sure that you read and understand everything

Much of the information in this site applies to all types of children’s services. Other information varies depending on the type of children’s service involved.

We suggest that you proceed through this website section by section using the main navigation bar. Then, if you are looking for particular information, the site map may be helpful.

Once you have read through this site, some information specific to each type of service can also be conveniently accessed from the resources & links section. On this page, click on the relevant type of service to display a ‘quickfind menu’ which draws together service-specific information.

PLEASE NOTE: The quickfind menu is only a convenient tool providing links to information relevant for each type of children’s service. The Act and Regulation contain the definitive requirements for licensing, establishing and operating a children’s service in NSW. The Regulation is periodically updated. Please ensure that you read and understand the Act and the current Regulations.

Download the Act and Regulation.


This resource kit provides information on the licensing and regulation of children's services, and links to a number of regulatory and other bodies which may provide useful information to present and future children's service operators.

Every attempt has been made to ensure the links provided are relevant and helpful. However, the Department of Community Services is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.

As the regulating agency for children's services, the Department of Community Services is responsible only for the monitoring activities with respect to Children's Services.

Persons interested in providing child care services should always seek independent legal and business advice.

The next page in this section tells you about children’s services in NSW.

quick links:

  • centre-based services
  • family day care services
  • home-based services
  • mobile services